May 27, 2024

Cardiac Cats! K-State scores on final play to stun Cyclones

Manhattan, Kan. (–Two years ago, Iowa State had a two-possession lead in the fourth quarter, and committed two turnovers inside their own territory, which led to an improbable comeback by Kansas State 38-35. That Wildcat win would lead not only to the dismissal of Cyclone coach Paul Rhoades, but propel the Cats to win their next two to be bowl eligible.

Fast forward to Saturday in Manhattan. Iowa State built a 19-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Kansas State would march down and score to pull to within five points, and eventually score to pull to within 19-14. The Wildcats would pull out another Farmageddon miracle, going 83 yards, as Skylar Thompson hit a wide open Isaiah Zuber as time expired to lead K-State to a 20-19 thriller over the Cyclones in the regular season finale.

Iowa State would march down the field on their opening drive for the first points of the afternoon. A 15-play, 56-yard drove that took just over seven minutes saw Garrett Owens a 36-yard field goal to give them the early 3-0 lead.

Kansas State would take advantage of a 43-yard Dominique Heath punt return that took it to the Iowa State 31 yard line. The Wildcats took the lead on an eight-play drive that took over five minutes on a Skylar Thompson three-yard run with 12:54 left in the second quarter to go up 7-3 with the Matthew McCrane PAT. Late in the first half, the Cyclones got their second field goal from Garrett Owens. This one was from 22 yards out to pull to within 7-6 at the break.

After K-State was held on a three-and-out to begin the second half, Iowa State went down the field to retake the lead. With 8:34 left in the third quarter, Kyle Kempt found Marchie Murdock on a nine-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead 12-7. The two point conversion failed.

Iowa State would go on a six-minute, 12-second drive on 10 plays to go up two scores early in the fourth quarter. A 10-play drive was completed with a Kempt pass to Hakeem Butler from three yards out to give the Cyclones a 19-7 lead with 13:46 left. Garrett Owens tacked on the extra point.

On the ensuing kickoff, Byron Pringle would return the kick to the Iowa State 11 yard line. A questionable holding, followed by an unsportsmanlike penalty on a Wildcat assistant coach pushed the ball back to their own 17 yard line. Kansas State would not be phased by the poor field position for the first time all night. a 13-play, 68-yard drive that burned up just under half of the fourth quarter pulled the Cats to within one score. With 6:07 left, K-State went deep into the playbook as Alex Barnes threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Winston Dimel to pull to within 19-14 with the Matthew McCrane PAT.

Iowa State would convert two first downs, and it looked like they would run the clock out and escape with a win. However, that never happened. The Cyclones would burn a little over four minutes, and forced Kansas State into burning one timeout. On third down, Kyle Kempt attempted a pass to standout receiver Allen Lazard, but the pass would be incomplete. One official would throw a flag for a potential pass interference against the Wildcats. After a lengthy discussion, the officials waved the flag off, and Iowa State punted to the Wildcat 13 yard line with 1:55 left in the game.

With two timeouts and 87 yards separating them from a win, Kansas State marched down the field. The Wildcats would go 10 plays for the win. Two plays after getting the ball down to the Iowa State one yard line with 11 seconds left, the first down pass would be incomplete, stopping the clock with eight seconds remaining. On the next play, Skylar Thompson would roll left, then scramble to the right, and fire the pass to a wide open Isaiah Zuber in the back of the end zone with no time left, giving K-State the 20-19 win.

Iowa State would outgain Kansas State 370-264. The Wildcats had just 53 first half yards, and 165 yards on their last two drives of the game.

Kansas State had Skylar Thompson go 15-21 passing for 152 yards and a touchdown. He would also rush for one more. Isaiah Zuber had seven catches for 56 yards, including the game-winning touchdown. Dalvin Warmack led the rushing with 42 yards on 10 carries. The Wildcats finished with 109 yards rushing.

Kyle Kempt went 24-36 passing for 264 yards with two touchdowns. Allen Lazard had six catches for 95 yards to lead the receiving corp. Sheldon Croney rushed the ball 13 times for 63 yards. The Cyclones finished with 115 yards on the ground.

Both teams did not commit a turnover.

After Saturday, both teams finished 7-5 overall, and 5-4 in Big 12 play. Kansas State and Iowa State finished in a tie for fourth place with Texas and West Virginia. The win was the 10th consecutive in the series for the Wildcats. Iowa State still leads the series 49-48-4. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has 123 Big 8/12 victories, which is second to former Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne, and Snyder is four wins away from tying Dennis Francione for the most wins in FBS history. Snyder has 209 career victories.

Up next are December bowl games for the Wildcats and Cyclones. The teams will not know where they are headed until next Sunday.

K-State Coach Bill Snyder

Quarterback Skylar Thompson

Running Back Alex Barnes

Running Back Justin Silmon

Wide Receiver Zach Reuter

Wide Recevier Isaiah Zuber

Linebacker Trent Tanking

Safety Denzel Goolsby